Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Jon Street is apparently such a Trump loyalist that he devoted a Nov. 2 column to redefining the word "know" to try and separate Trump from George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign staffer who recently pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russians during the campaign. Street complained the media is portraying Papadopoulos as "among the president's most senior advisors":
CNN, too, pushed the narrative that Papadopoulos was among Trump’s most senior campaign staff.
“President Donald Trump and his stable of surrogates have tried to discredit former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in the wake of his guilty plea to special counsel Robert Mueller, casting him as nothing more than a low-level ‘coffee boy’ who rarely — if ever — interacted with senior members of Trump’s campaign,” CNN’s Dan Merica in an article published Tuesday.
“Those comments, though, belie Papadopoulos’ actual role in the campaign, as laid out by Mueller’s statement of charges, and use misinformation and inaccuracies to deride the former campaign adviser,” Merica added. Merica based his claim on two factors that do not clearly establish that Papadopoulos’ seniority in the Trump campaign.
First, Merica suggested that a single photo showing Papadapoulous sitting at a conference table with Trump and others in March 2016 somehow proves Papadopoulos was among the campaign’s most senior staffers.
Second, Merica pointed to a March 2016 Washington Post interview in which Trump called Papadopoulos an “excellent guy.” Merica argued that it was because of these two instances that Trump “knew” Papadopoulos.
As a presidential candidate, Trump, like every other candidate, held numerous meetings with various policymakers, advisers and experts. To suggest that Trump “knew” every single one of those individuals is, quite frankly, naive.
As to Trump’s comment that Papadopoulos is an “excellent guy,” Trump often comments on what he thinks of someone, particularly if they work for him, whenever mentioning them by name. This was true when Trump was a private businessman leading the Trump organization. It was true when he was a presidential candidate overseeing a campaign. And it’s true now that he’s president and head of the Executive Branch.
In short, as far as we know at this point, Trump did not “know” Papadopoulos and Papadopoulos was not part of Trump’s senior campaign staff. CNN, the Post and others would do well to acknowledge as much.
In short, Street is effectively confessing that Trump is a serial exaggerator, if not a liar, and anything he says should not be taken at face value. That's hardly a rousing defense.